I’m listening to Edith Piaf’s album “je ne regrette rien” as I write this blog-post. This 2-cd set has 45 songs. So far I really like 3: “Non, je ne regrette rien”, “La foule”, and “La Goualante du pauvre Jean”. Piaf’s voice is so intense, so French. Sometimes she’s a little too much even for me! But I love how she immediately transports me to old France.
I’m not sure when I first fell in love with France. It must have been before the time I can remember anything distinctly. It must have been through my Dad’s story-telling of his travels and his French-language lessons for us children. Those lessons weren’t all that successful in actually teaching us to speak French, but they effected the magic of birthing a little girl’s imagination that the world is hers, and that France in particular could be her home.
I’ve been to France only twice, the first time for nearly a week in the summer of 1983, the second time for two weeks in the spring of 1990. But I’ve been there in my heart nearly my whole life through music, whether children’s folk songs taught to me by my parents or piano music by Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, or via the French renditions of many great female vocalists (whether French or not themselves) such as Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Etta Jones, and more.
More tracks from Piaf’s 2-cd set of her greatest hits I find enchanting:
- “J’m’en fous pas mal”
- “Les trois cloches”
- “C’est l’amour”
Warning: much of Piaf’s music will break your heart! But c’est la vie, c’est l’amour!
I was wanting a little mood boost today and I thought I’d see what fragrance samples I had on hand, thinking maybe a cheerful scent would bring a little buoyancy to my heart. I picked Roses de Chloe’. According to PerfumeMaster.org it was introduced in 2013. I spritzed a bit on my wrists and neck, and whoosh! I was flooded with a very happy sense of my mother! I could see myself as a very young child and she who I must have adored at that age because the feeling I have is one of blissful enchantment! This would have been in the early 1960’s, and of course this particular scent wasn’t distributed yet.
So I began a search of what fragrances my mother might have had access to at that time (between 1960 and 1965?) and that might have had “heart notes” of roses. To my nose, this scent by Chloe’ has a hint of something much more complex than roses, even though everything I’m smelling seems to come through the strain of Rose. Am I sensing a “bass note”? And what is it? I don’t know much about the science, art, or even language of Perfumeries, but I definitely have very strong memories associated with very particular scents.
I know my mother enjoyed Evening in Paris for a while. According to Fragrantica.com it was created in 1928 by Ernest Beaux and discontinued in 1969 (although it was newly re-created by others in 1992). One of the “heart notes” of the original Soir de Paris is Rose Damascena, but I don’t know what exactly that is, and I don’t have access to a sample of this fragrance so I can’t confirm that memories of Soir de Paris were evoked by Roses de Chloe’. In comparing the two websites’ descriptions of the two fragrances, I see there are two “bass notes” in common: amber and musk, so it seems quite possible my nose is remembering Soir de Paris when I experience Roses de Chloe’.
I wish I could find exactly which fragrances Mom wore when I was a little girl. It would be such a delight to sample each one and see what memories and feelings are brought to mind. Meanwhile, I am so grateful for this blessing of blissful memory and present and profound happiness!
I just spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the school I went to in PR. Using various internet maps w/ satelite option, I was able to find our house, the hospital, the church, and the public square, even though everything is dramatically more developed than when I was there. But I wasn’t able to find the school. So frustrating! I also couldn’t find the monastery where my brother and I snuck into the bell tower hoping to ring the bell. First time we tried it, we were caught by a monk who chased us out. Second time we tried it we were caught by a monk who took us up into the tower and let us look around at the city below. That is even now, forty plus years later, a cherished memory. God bless all monks, especially the hospitable ones! 😉